Tribute to Natalie Dawson

Natalie Dawso was a long-time Shambhala Buddhist warrior of the Halifax Shambhala Centre


From an old friend

I first met Natalie in 1972, when we were both members of a group that was preparing to settle on kibbutz. She didn’t stay long in Israel, and we lost touch when she left. I heard nothing more from her until about 3-4 years ago, when she suddenly emailed me to say she was coming to visit. She stayed in a little hotel just up the road from me in Jerusalem, and came round to see me every evening after I had finished work. I recognized

her immediately when I saw her, even after a lapse of over 30 years, and we talked constantly the whole time she was here. The last evening she took me out for a meal and I asked about her Buddhist practices and beliefs. As she spoke I realised that with you she had found the community she had always been searching for, and I was very happy for her. We corresponded after she returned home, and our letters became more frequent after her illness was diagnosed. When my mother died last year our correspondence became more personal as we exchanged reflections on our childhood and beliefs or lack thereof, and I confided to her things I have very rarely spoken about. I was able to do this because of the absolute trust she inspired in me.

All of us here who remembered her were delighted to see her again when she came to visit, and I felt that I had rediscovered a wonderful friend. I am devastated that she has died just as she was looking forward to enjoying her retirement, and I shall miss her letters terribly.

My heartfelt sympathies to you all in your great loss.

Carol Sutherland

Remembering Natalie Dawson

February 15, 2011

I spent a month last fall as Natalie’s roommate at Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s retreat in Crestone, Colorado. It was a very special time. Natalie knew it would be her last time to undertake such a long and intensive time away from Halifax and she appreciated every moment – the time to practice Vajrakilaya, the contrast of the clear mountain air to Halifax’s cool dampness, Rinpoche’s pithy and humorous talks and instruction and the opportunity to meet with him, the cat at the cabin we rented, the fresh local produce, the ability to do such a retreat at all considering the demands of having to take care of herself.

Through it all, she was cheerful, introspective, and totally willing to share what she was going through. Her appreciation of her teachers and the foundation they gave her for facing her mortality as a warrior shone through.

I have know Natalie since her early days with the Berkeley Dharmadhatu and it was a blessing to reconnect with her at this time. Aloha nui loa, Natalie.

-Melinda Wing

Natalie Dawson and why I like the internet

January 29, 2011

I never really knew Natalie Dawson,
or maybe she went to my seminary.
I only had one conversation with her. It was a few years ago.
But I liked her immensely, from her posts,
her reflections online I agreed with and so
I “liked her.”
And loved that she wrote about films.
There was warmth in her words,
and it came through all these them machines
She had a clear voice,
And had an opinion. I liked that,
and I will miss it.
To her good fortune to be a member of this sangha many many times.
A toast to Natalie and her way of being, her quiet voice.

-Irene Woodard

January 29, 2011

Did you know that Natalie’s favorite movie was Dirty Dancing— And that she would skip some events to watch Dancing with the Stars – or Corner Gas!!

Inside, this dakini was a prancing lioness with a cheshire cat grin – outwardly disguised as a solemn, spacious Dharma teacher.

With a full heart and happy memories of my friend,
Petra (Mudie)

January 27, 2011

I will miss Natalie, such a WONDERFUL teacher. Strong back, soft front.
Love, Molly (DeShong)

January 27, 2011

Natalie .. It is very sad news. Our community is diminished in many ways by her passing. She enriched our practice and culture.
David (Garrett)

January 27, 2011

Watching a film will never be the same again.
Tom (Downey)

January 25, 2011

Noble Sangha and Fearless Shambhalians,

Many of you have probably met or studied with Natalie Dawson, long-time Shambhala Buddhist warrior of the Halifax Shambhala Centre – and you may have relished her pithy critiques of all the best movies/videos in town.

Since December, Natalie has been undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. At first, the results were very positive, but now unfortunately, serious complications have arisen from her immune system destroying her red blood cells. She is in hospital, receiving transfusions and various medications to try and correct this severe problem. Tonglen practice and/or other healing practices would be much appreciated for our dear friend who is now critically ill.

With thanks for caring,
Petra Mudie

Whether near or far

by Natalie Dawson,
January 14, 2011

Sitting in the hospital charnel ground,
various amritas dripping into arms
and surrounded by cheerful dakinis,
smiling is essential though my heart
breaks open
among the bald heads and wheelchairs
of those so much sicker than me.
Then I remember: this is just body reality
and I see my guru’s glowing face
whether near or far from death.